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Steelheads take offensive slugfest, 8-5

Saturday, January 24th
Steelheads take offensive slugfest, 8-5

Anchorage, AK (1/24/15) – Jason Bast posted his first career hat trick as a professional along with a career-high five points as the Idaho Steelheads won an offensive track meet Friday night, beating the Alaska Aces, 8-5, in front of 4,493 fans at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

Wade MacLeod had two goals and two assists while former Ace Alex Belzile had a goal and two assists to help Idaho improve to 25-11-4 overall as the team leads the Pacific Division with 54 points in the standings.

Despite the huge offensive numbers, it was a relatively slow start in the scoring column.  Idaho scored first at 13:10 when Brett Robinson fed the puck from behind the net to Jefferson Dahl, who found himself all alone on top of the crease for his third goal of the season.  Jason Bast's first goal of the night - a blast from edge of the right-wing circle - at 17:54 gave the Steelheads a 2-0 lead after one period of play.

The second period was a wild affair that saw eight combined goals and two big swings in momentum.  After a Brad Cole goal got Alaska back to within a goal early in the pariod, Bast netted his second of the night on the rebound at 5:36 of the second to make it 3-1.  Two minutes later, Idaho wend on the power play with a chance to take full control but, instead, it was Greg Wolfe scoring short-handed at 8:09 to trigger a big push by Alaska.  Wolfe's tally was followed in short order by Olivier Archambeault (9:49) and Curt Gogol (11:30) to give the Aces a 4-3 lead.  But then Idaho would swing momentum back almost as suddenly as they had lost it as Bast finished his hat trick 38 seconds later at 12:08 off an assist from Belzile to tie the game, 4-4.  The hat trick, Bast's first as a pro, upped his goal total to 24 on the season.  Idaho snapped the tie on the power play at 17:33 when Bast made a terrific play at the right point to hold the zone, then stepped down the wing before finding Belzile near the hash marks on the left edge of the slot.  Belzile blasted home his 18th goal of the season to give Idaho the lead back at 5-4.

The Steelheads weren't done, however, as MacLeod and Robinson executed a perfect two-on-one rush with MacLeod feeding Robinson for his tenth goal of the season at 18:41 to give Idaho its two-goal lead back, 6-4, after two periods.

The Aces again cut into Idaho's lead on Corbin Baldwin's low-angle goal at 8:24 of the third period, but Idaho got two goals from MacLeod to salt away the victory.  The first came at 14:22 as MacLeod flipped the puck past the blocker of Aaron Crandall while he was being knocked to the ice off a feed from Colton Beck to make it 7-5.  Then, at 17:15, MacLeod knocked home a loose puck in front of the goal on the power play for his 15th goal of the season to seal the win.

Henri Kiviaho picked up his fifth win of the season, making a career-high 36 saves for Idaho.  Crandall took the loss, allowing eight goals on 44 shots.  The eight goals tied a season-high for Idaho, also reached on November 1 at home against Stockton.

Bast (three goals, two assists), MacLeod (two goals, two assists), Belzile (goal, two assists), Dahl (goal, assist) and Robinson (goal, assist) all had multi-point nights for the Steelheads, who have points in ten of their last 11 games (8-1-2).

Idaho's power play went 2-5 on the night while the penalty-kill unit was a perfect three for three.

The same two teams will meet up again Saturday night (9:15 PM Mtn) and Sunday afternoon (5 PM Mtn) before Idaho moves on for three games on the road against second-place Ontario next week.

The Steelheads return to home ice on Wednesday, February 4, to host the Utah Grizzlies on Dollar Beer Night at CenturyLink Arena.  Tickets are available by calling 208-331-8497.

COORS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME – Alex Belzile (G/2A)

CENTURYLINK THREE STARS:(1) Jason Bast (ID)(2) Wade MacLeod (ID)(3) Curt Gogol (AK)

Group outings at a Steelheads game are a great way to gather friends, colleagues, or co-workers for a fun night out in downtown Boise. Ticket prices are discounted and you can get a Pepsi, Double-R Ranch Hot Dog, and bag of chips with each ticket. Contact the Steelheads front office at 208.383.0080 or log on to www.idahosteelheads.com for more information.

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